Latest News & Achievements

December, 2020

Drs. Janina Wilmskoetter, Ezequiel Gleichgerrcht, and Leo Bonilha published a research article entitled "Predicting naming responses based on pre-articulatory electrical activity in individuals with aphasia" in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology.

Electrodes of EGG, machine learning figure

December, 2020

Staff Scientist Tanja Hellier joined the Editorial Board for the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience as a Review Editor.

November, 2020

Drs. Zeke Gleichgerrcht, Barbara Marebwa, and Leo Bonilha published the paper "Personalized connectome fingerprints: Their importance in cognition from childhood to adult years" in the journal NeuroImage.

Imaging photos from connectome paper

August, 2020

Dr. Zeke Gleichgerrcht published paper titled "Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Surgical Outcomes Can Be Inferred Based on Structural Connectome Hubs: A Machine Learning Study" with Principal Investigator Dr. Bonilha and Research Specialist Samantha Krantz in the prestigious journal Annals of Neurology.

Imaging figure from Annals of Neurology paper

January 2020

Dr. Leo Bonilha coauthored research article entitled "Spectral Encoding of Seen and Attended Object Categories in the Human Brain" in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Journal of Neuroscience Bonilha Figure

November 12, 2019

New research from the Bonilha Lab has been featured in the EurekAlert! Bonilha et al. (2019) published an article in the journal "Brain" titled "Neural structures supporting spontaneous and assisted (entrained) speech fluency".  

November 1, 2019

Janina Wilmskoetter won three awards at the "Perry V. Halushka MUSC 2019 Research Day" for her oral presentation "Residual brain white matter integrity predicts aphasia severity and recovery in patients with chronic left hemispheric stroke". She was awarded the first place in the category “Interprofessional Award”, the second place in the category "Center on Aging”, and the second place in the category "Postdoc Resident Fellow Staff Scientist IV”. 

August 22, 2019

Barbara and Janina presented current research from the Bonilha Lab at the 11th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language in Helsinki, Finland. 

Barbara and Janina present posters at SNL 2019

June, 2019

Dr. Leo Bonilha published "Editorial for the special issue on language and epilepsy" in the journal of Brain and Language.

July 11, 2019

Emilie has been selected to receive the MUSC Physicians/MSTP scholarship. This one-year scholarship is funded by the physicians practicing at the Medical University of South Carolina and is an extraordinary honor. Congratulations, Emilie!

May 23, 2019

ZekeGraduationZeke Gleichgerrcht completed his residency in Neurology after four years of training at the Medical University of South Carolina. During his last year of residency, he served as Chief Resident and was awarded the Resident Excellence in Care Award as well as the Highest In-Service Exam Score Award.

He will be staying at MUSC to complete fellowship training in Epilepsy while he continues his research in the Bonilha Lab!

May 18, 2019

Barbara Marebwa graduated from the PhD programBarbara graduated from the PhD program "Biomedical Imaging" at MUSC and continues as a Postdoctoral researcher in the Bonilha Lab.

We are proud of you, Dr. Marebwa, and cannot wait to see your research career unfold!



May 15, 2019

Emilie is contributing to "The Road to Consensus in Diffusion MRI" at the annual meeting of the international society for magnetic resonance in medicine (ISMRM)! She was invited to givea talk on how to go beyond conventional DTI and to sit on an expert panel to discuss guidelines for clinical research.  Conversations between the MRI developers and clinicians are necessary to keep the field moving forward. Here you can see her in action presenting some of her original work from the same conference. Thanks, Emilie! 

May 2, 2019

Dr. Na Jin Seo was the finalist at the MUSC Innovation Week Shark Tank. Way to go, Dr. Seo!


April 25, 2019

Barbara receives Humanitarian Award from Ms ColeBarbara Marebwa received the Charles H. Banov, M.D. Humanitarian Award!  This award recognizes a student who has made a significant contribution locally or abroad by volunteering their time to achieve unmet community needs.

Thank you Barbara for you outstanding work with our Charleston refugee community!

April 23, 2019

Dr. Na Jin Seo has been selected to receive a VA Merit Award, entitled “Novel training environment to normalize altered finger force direction post stroke” as a Principal Investigator for 2019-2023. Congratulations, Dr. Seo!

March 1, 2019

Dr. Nathan Rowland, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at MUSC, received a K12 NIH NINDS Neurosurgeon Research Career Development Award (NRCDP) for the project entitled: Direct measurement of motor cortical responses to transcranial direct current stimulation. Congratulations, Dr Rowland!

October 4, 2018

Janina receives commendation from Fuerst Donnersmark Stiftung BerlinJanina received a commendation of the research award 2018 from the Fürst Donnersmarck-Foundation in Berlin. This prize is awarded for current scientific research in the field of neurological rehabilitation of people with acquired damage to the nervous system. Janina received the commendation for her dissertational work on the influence of brain lesion locations on the rehabilitation of individuals with post-stroke swallowing disorders. Congratulations, Janina! 

October 2, 2018

The Bonilha lab has been busy! Read about how Dr. Bonilha and Dr. Gleichgerrcht analyzed the neural networks of epilepsy patients to predict seizure-free outcome post-surgery using a novel artificial intelligence deep learning technique and reached up to 88% accuracy. 

September 27, 2018

The brain diet! A new EurekAlert! covering the recently published work of our graduate student Barbara Marebwa on the effects of a hormone called FGF23 on brain health. 

September 6, 2018

Spreading the word: Noninvasive brain stimulation may soon reach more aphasia patients. A new EurekAlert! covering the results of a recent successful clinical trial led by MUSC researchers Dr. Bonilha and Dr. George, and USC collaborators Dr. Fridriksson and Dr. Rorden.  

June 20, 2018

Emilie received the ISMRM Magna Cum Laude Merit Award for her work on "Diffusion Anisotropy of the Extra-Axonal Environment is Linked to Axon Alignment".  She presented this work at the Joint Annual Meeting ISMRM-ESMRMB held from 16-21 June 2018 in Paris, France. Congrats Emilie! 

June 7, 2018

Barbara Marebwa received a travel award from the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL) to attend the 9th Annual Neurobiology of Language conference in Quebec Canada, on August 16-18, 2018.  This scientific meeting highlighted research on a variety of topics such as neural mechanisms supporting linguistic processes among others. 

June 7, 2018

Emilie received one of two student merit awards for her work on "Synergism between cortical damage and white matter disconnection contributes to aphasia severity".  She received the highest ratings from all reviewers. Emilie will be presenting her work at the Annual meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language. The conference will be held in Quebec City on August 16-18. Congratulations Emilie!

April 19, 2018

Read about how aphasia researchers are tailoring speech and language therapies to individual patients in the Spring 2018 Issue of Progressnotes.

March 17, 2018

Janina received the "Sumiko Okada International Fellowship Fund 2018", a research grant honoring Sumiko Okado, a Japanese speech, and language pathologist. This fund will support Janina in regards to her travel expenses to present her research findings in an oral presentation during the 2018 Japanese-Korean Joint Swallowing Conference and the 2018 meeting of the Japanese Society of Dysphagia Rehabilitation. Congrats Janina.

March 1, 2018

CurePSP awards the Department of Neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina the title “CurePSP Center of Care” for a period of two years under the leadership of Dr. Dale. This award will benefit Progressive Subnuclear Palsy and Corticobasal Degeneration patients, their carepartners, and Health care professionals. A team of mentors, including Dr. Bonilha, will be supporting this project. Congratulations Dr. Dale.

February 15, 2018

Emilie has been awarded an Educational Stipend to attend the Annual Meeting ISMRM, June 16 to 21 in Paris. She will be presenting her work on "Diffusion Anisotropy of the Extra-Axonal Environment is Linked to Axon Alignment". Congratulations, Emilie.

January 29, 2018

Zeke has been awarded the 2018 Alliance Award by the American Academy of Neurology for best clinical neuroscience research by a neurology resident for his work on "Looking at temporal white matter structural abnormalities to predict surgical outcome after epilepsy surgery in medication refractory medil temporal lobe epilepsy". The conference will be held in Los Angeles on April 21 to 27. Check out some of his work here. Congratulations Zeke.

December 1, 2017 

Zeke will be representing the Bonilha lab at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. He will be presenting his work on "Structural Connectivity Abnormalities in Adult Patients with Frontal Lobe Epilepsy: A Pilot Study" (PDF) and "Pre-surgical brain regions acting as network “influencers” may help predict post-surgical seizure control among patients with medication-refractory temporal lobe epilepsy" (PDF).

November 10, 2017

You can find the Bonilha lab in Baltimore this week at SNL 2017. Barbara (PDF), Zeke (PDF), and Emilie (PDF) will be presenting their work. If you are not able to make it, don't dispair, clicking on their name will reveal their poster.

August 3, 2017

Barbara Marebwa and Dr. Bonilha get acknowledged by EurekAlert for their recent work on network modularity and aphasia recovery.

The Bonilha lab is being recognized for its "Innovative research to improve standard of care for stroke patients.". Read the news release.

July 26, 2017

Dr. Na Jin Seo received an NIH Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant. This grant will support a Phase I clinical trial of a novel sensory stimulation device on stroke survivors. Dr. Seo will be conducting this research under the mentorship of Dr. Bonilha.

July 24, 2017

Dr. Roozbeh Behroozmand received $700K from the NIH to study how brain damage causes speech impairment in stroke survivors with aphasia. A team of mentors, including Dr. Bonilha, will be supporting this project. For more information, read the full article.

July 10, 2017

Emilie McKinnon and Dr. Bonilha get acknowledged by EurekAlert. for their recent work on ventral stream structural plasticity. For more information, read the full article.

July 8, 2017

Dr. Bonilha and research participant Mark Vail tell their success story to NIH medline plus. For more information, read the full article.

June 20, 2017

Award winning public broadcaster Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Bonilha about seizures and epilepsy in a radio segment called Health Focus on South Carolina Public Radio. For more information, listen to the full interview.

June 16, 2017

Our M.D. Ph.D. student Emilie McKinnon published her first clinical publication "Structural Plasticity of the Ventral Stream and Aphasia recovery" in Annals of Neurology. This study examines the restrengthening of the residual language network with intensive speech therapy using diffusional kurtosis imaging.

ANA figure

Figure 1: Pre- and post-treatment MK values along the ILF from a representative participant are shown anatomically. The ILF bottleneck, which is marked with a black arrow, demonstrates an increase in MK toward normal values from before to after therapy. The stroke lesion is demonstrated in pink. This participant demonstrated a 55 percent improvement in semantic errors.

April 10, 2017

Award winning public broadcaster Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Bonilha about Aphasia following a stroke in a radio segment called Health Focuson South Carolina Public Radio. Listen to the full interview.

March 7, 2017

Dr. Marian Dale recently published "Impaired perception tilt in progressive supranuclear palsy" in PloS One, under mentorship of Dr. Bonilha. This study examines why patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a degenerative neurological disorder with prominent gait and balance difficulties, tend to fall mainly in a backward direction. Subjects with PSP accurately perceive the gravitational vertical, but are unable to perceive backward surface tilts and inappropriately plantar-flex their feet when tilted backward, resulting in backward postural instability.

December 12, 2016

Dr. Na Jin Seo received a Mentored Research Development Award from the Delaware-CTR ACCEL (Accelerating Clinical and Translational Research). This award will support the project "Sensory Stimulation to Enhance Hand Functional Recovery Post Stroke” to examine the neurobiological basis for the effects of sensory stimulation in enhancing hand rehabilitation outcomes. This work will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Bonilha and Dr. Saladin.

November 15, 2016 

Dr. Christine Cooper, Assistant Professor of Neurology, received a pilot award from the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR). SCTR pilot funding supports novel, high-impact research with emphasis on diseases demonstrating significant prevalence in South Carolina. Dr. Cooper’s work “Brain circuitry changes in vascular parkinsonism” will use structural MRI and connectome imaging to investigate the changes in brain network connections associated with vascular parkinsonism, which ultimately may lead to earlier diagnosis, better classification, and potential for future interventions. Dr. Cooper will be conducting this research under the mentorship of Dr. Vanessa Hinson and Dr. Bonilha.

November 14, 2016

Dr. Bonilha and his team are recognized by the MUSC newscenter in an article covering the story of Mark Vail, a study participant. For more information, read the full article.

November 4, 2016 

Barbara Marebwa won 2nd place in the 1st-2nd year Ph.D. oral presentation with her talk on "Chronic Post-stroke Aphasia Severity is Determined By Fragmentation of Residual White Matter Networks" at the Perry V. Halushka 2016 MUSC Research Day.

September 16, 2016

Emilie McKinnon was offered a position as a predoctoral trainee in the college of Graduate Studies at MUSC under the mentorship of Dr. Bonilha and supported by the NIH/NIDCD Institutional Training Grant, "Interdisciplinary Research Training in Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences." Emilie's work "Residual post-stroke integrity of white matter networks and their relationship with recovery from chronic aphasia" will focus on using Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging to study the impact of residual post-stroke microstructure of specific white matter pathways on language impairment and language recovery.

August 5, 2016

Emilie McKinnon raised 1000$ through DonorsCure to help cover her travel costs to attend the 8th Annual Neurobiology of Language conference in London, England on August 17 to 20, 2016. Donors Cure is a nonprofit organization that provides a centralized platform where donors can support specific, qualified biomedical research projects led by researchers at US universities and institutions. Emilie will be presenting her work on the relationship between therapy-related improvements in naming errors and microstructural white matter fiber properties, measured using advanced imaging techniques.

June 22, 2016

Dr. Grigori Yourganov and colleagues recently published a paper, Multivariate Connectome-Based Symptom Mapping in Post-Stroke Patients: Networks Supporting Language and Speech, in The Journal of Neuroscience. In this study, the authors compared a novel multivariate approach to predict speech and language impairment post-stroke using white matter connectivity (connectome) with predictions using a more traditional multivariate, cross-validation method from lesion based analysis. Generally, results showed that “lesion-based and connectome-based predictions are comparable in terms of accuracy but not altogether similar in terms of the spatial features that drive the predictions”. In addition, results from the connectome-based analysis showed that clinical language tasks require connectivity between the motor and sensory systems (temporoparietal junction). The authors therefore suggest that leasion- and connectome-based approaches are complementary to one another and that both methodologies should be used to advance understanding of brain-behavior relationships.

June 7, 2016

Barbara Khalibinzwa Marebwa received a travel award from the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL). SNL travel awards are partially funded by the National Institute of Health and awarded to junior scientists who are members of underrepresented groups to help cover travel and registration costs to attend the 8th Annual Neurobiology of Language conference in London, England, on August 17 to 20, 2016. This scientific meeting highlights research on a variety of topics such as neural mechanisms supporting linguistic processes among others. Barbara will present her recent work investigating how the fragmentation of structural brain networks is associated with post-stroke aphasia severity.